The Oscar Nominations Have a Lack of LGBTQ Diversity, Because Movies Are Still Behind the Times
Coming off the back of the diverse Golden Globes, I'm pretty disappointed that the Oscar nominations are so lacking in LGBTQ representation. The Globes felt like a celebration of the changing times. Transparent, Amazon's show about a transgender character, nabbed two awards, and Matt Bomer, who is openly gay, won for The Normal Heart, which chronicled the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s. And even though they didn't win, the comedy Pride, detailing the work of U.K. gay activists, picked up a nomination, as did openly gay actor Alan Cumming. Finally in 2015, I got to see a range of LGBTQ issues and actors represented on the awards show circuit. But then came the Oscars.
This year's Academy Award nominations are about as un-diverse as it gets. (There are also significant deficits in race and gender representation.) In fact, the only movie that had anything to do with an LGBTQ character is The Imitation Game, which tells the true story of war hero Alan Turing, who was also gay. If Benedict Cumberbatch wins for best actor in that role, he'll join the long list of straight actors who played gay characters and won.
As Dallas Buyers Club illustrated last year, the only time the Oscars ever seem to recognize movies with LGBTQ protagonists is when they're played by straight (and often white) actors. I'm not saying that Benedict Cumberbatch's performance as Alan Turing wasn't great, and I'm certainly not saying Alan Turning's story wasn't worth telling. But I am disappointed that with 24 categories the Oscars have hardly nominated any LGBTQ actors or films.
And sure, Tegan and Sara's song "Everything Is Awesome" is nominated for Best Original Song. But the ladies share the credit with The Lonely Island, and I wouldn't exactly call Best Original Song the cornerstone of the Oscar ceremony. The LGBTQ community deserved more attention in the most-recognizable categories.
But alas, the representation was so low that the Human Rights Campaign's press release about representation at the Academy Awards had to beef up their content by saying congratulations to "HRC supporters [who] also made their mark" like Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo. Good for them for being supporters of equality, and congrats on their nominations, but when actual LGBTQ representation is so nonexistent that the HRC is praising nominated actors who also just happen to be pro-LGBTQ — that's pretty sad.
I was hoping that the Golden Globes were a sign of the changing times, but perhaps they were just a sign of the changing times for television. You'd be hard pressed to find a hit show these days that doesn't feature an LGBTQ character or couple. There's Glee, Modern Family, Orange is the New Black, Grey's Anatomy, Transparent, How to Get Away With Murder, Pretty Little Liars, Chasing Life, House of Cards, Girls, Scandal, Teen Wolf, and so many more.
But unfortunately movies, and the Oscars in general, haven't caught up with the changing tide of acceptance in America. This year the Oscars will celebrate, as they have pretty much always done, the achievements of white men in Hollywood.
That kind of attitude isn't going to cut it for me anymore. Not when I've seen a diverse, inclusive awards show like the Golden Globes and the hope it brings to the underrepresented communities out there. The Academy better hurry and catch up, because this year's nominations are a dismal representation of what the LGBTQ world has to offer.